Christmas and New Year! How many of us are waiting for these amazing holidays all year long! In fact, can there be anything more colorful, impressive and authentic than spending these fantastic days in the world epicenter of Catholicism? Of course, Rome is the place, where the magical holiday of Christmas can be truly considered one of the main events of the year! The city is decorated with lights, Christmas trees and the holiday atmosphere is absolutely everywhere. The same is true for New Year - Rome celebrates it cheerfully and is considered one of the top destinations for New Year lovers from other countries. Both holidays are celebrated with the perfect doses of romanticism and magic. Most of the restaurants and cafes keep their doors open and welcome the guests. So, if you're thinking of spending Christmas and/or New Year in the Eternal City, do not hesitate! Let’s see what you can do during these romantic end-of-the-year holidays in Rome and what the fun options there are on your plate.
With lights strung over the streets, Christmas trees at almost every piazza, holiday concerts and Christmas markets Rome looks absolutely festive. This is what all of us expect from Christmas holiday, but if you are in Rome, it comes with a substantial bonus - the beauty of the Eternal City all around you. Please, go to the Christmas markets at Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori and buy some authentic gifts for your friends or family members. You will totally enjoy the atmosphere. Christmas Concerts at churches and outside in the streets will also add to the Christmas atmosphere. And, of course, no one can forget about food at Christmas. Such great places as Trastevere, Testaccio and the Jewish Ghetto are always there for you whenever you are up for an amazing meal. In these famous food districts tourists are traditionally fed with the best Italian cuisine and, trust me, they have a lot to offer on top of that during Christmas and New Year holidays.
Due to the comfortable December temperatures, which are around 10-12 Celcium - the last month of the year is fantastic to walk around the city and observe all the wonders of Rome without panting and summer-heat-exhaustion. During this time of the year you can really dedicate yourself to sightseeing and enjoying every step. The Piazza Navona and Spanish Steps, the Piazza del Popolo and Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon on the Piazza della Rotonda and thousands of legendary places are literally at your feet. Granted you put on comfortable shoes you can really walk all day long and feel wonderful with the not-too-cold-not-too-warm perfect weather, rare rains and all those Roman landmarks sunk in Christmas lights. Just remember to check the working hours of such most attended places in Rome as for the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and many other places with paid admission. Normally December 25 is a day off and December 26 is a working day, which can be iffy, so check that up on the official websites before visiting. Some of the tour companies will offer Christmas day tours even on December 25, so no worries, you surely will have tons of things to observe whatever day of the holiday that would be.
The Vatican will be full of lights like in no other day. A gorgeous Christmas tree and one of the most impressive Nativity Scenes will be waiting for you in front of the St. Peter’s Cathedral. A special and one of a kind event, which can be visited by any tourist regardless their confession is Christmas Mass at the St. Peter’s. Be careful, it takes place on the 24th of December at 9:15 and not at midnight as you might think. This mass is the most watched one in the world, thereful you should definitely order your tickets 2 or better 3 month in advance. Get prepared, the event is exceptionally breathtaking. Whether you visited the St. Paul’s Cathedral or not, the mass will be both a spectacular and spiritual experience.
The Christmas Day Speech, called “Urbi et Orbi”, is another event that takes place in the Vatican City State at St. Peter’s Piazza at Christmas. During this gathering Pope Francis gives blessings and many people come here to feel the profound unity and peace.
Also, do not miss the legendary Christmas fair at the Piazza Navona square (the pun was intended)!:) Surrounded with the historical fountains and buildings, every December the central piazza of Rome hosts a Christmas market here, which is strongly recommended to be visited.